Video hands-on with Google’s new $249 Chromebook

60 Comments

Google introduced a new Chromebook on Thursday that costs $249 and runs on the same ARM chips that power smartphones and tablets. The new device, made by Samsung, looks extremely similar to the current Chromebook Series 5 550 model that I bought in June and have used as an everyday laptop since. The newer model is lighter, thinner and has no fan, however, and costs $200 less than the prior edition. In 2009, I suggested that Google would use these chips for ChromeOS; I was wrong — until now — but hardware advances make it possible.

I’ve spent a few hours with Google’s(s goog) new device and have a short overview, comparison to the prior model and thoughts after some hands-on time. Take a look:

ChromeOS is still the same here, although it has a few subtle design tweaks that make it look more professional as a platform. The device comes with 16 GB of on-board storage, can be expanded with an SD card and gains 100 GB of free Google Drive storage; something we expected to see happen at some point. A faster USB port and full-sized HDMI jack for digital TV output is also here, but gone is the wired Ethernet port; it’s Wi-Fi or nothing for connectivity. Google will debut a 3G model in the future, however.

The new Chromebook is just under 2.5 pounds and is both sleeker and thinner. Battery life appears the same as Google says “up to 6.5 hours.” While the 1366 x 768 screen is 0.5-inches smaller, it’s not a detriment. Of course, the biggest change is the ARM (s armh) processor inside. It’s a Samsung Exynos 5250, which is a dual core, next-generation Cortex-A15 chip of Samsung’s own design. It handles 1080p video just fine and runs the ChromeOS quite well. I’d say the performance is comparable to the Intel-powered(s intc) Chromebook I have, but perhaps a half-step behind; at least in my few hours of using the device.

At this price, however, Google has a large opportunity for students and general consumers to pick up one of these new Chromebooks. I still believe that a Chromebook isn’t for everyone; I’d never suggest otherwise. For everyday web tasks and basic productivity, however, the device is perfect and attractively priced.

60 Comments

brayjason

Ive been using my chromebook for over a year now and do not even touch my macbook anymore. Its not about what it can or cannot do, its the fact that it does everything I need it to do. I LOVE MY CHROMEBOOK. So many cloud solutions, no desktop or anything to clean. I just close tabs and everything is gorgeous. good article

Kevin C. Tofel

“Its not about what it can or cannot do, its the fact that it does everything I need it to do. ” Great comment; I completely agree. ;)

brayjason

Ive been using my chromebook for over a year now and dont even touch my macbook anymore. Its not about what it can or cant do, its the fact that its so simple and does everything that I need to do. LOVE MY CHROMEBOOK!

Kevin

Kevin, you were so helpful in directing me to my International Galaxy Note 2 (could not be happier, especially with my $30 monthly T Mobile unlimited plan)
My business requires me really to only be on extranets and email when I travel and I hate lugging around the big heavy laptops. Would you recommend this for someone like me? Again, I need to retried google emails and basically login and make changes to hotel inventories on extranets like Expedia, Orbitz etc. I dont need word processing, spreadsheets, presentations etc. Just something I can us to login to my various extranets and update as needed but phones and 7″ tablets are just a bit difficult without the full size regular keyboard a laptop provides
Thanks, as always, for your expertise
-Another Kevin

Kevin C. Tofel

As long as you can access your data through a browser, I think this is a great, low-cost solution, provided you have either Wi-Fi or mobile broadband access, of course.

Kevin

Yes, 90 plus% of what I do is thru a browser but I struggle at times to use my iPad or phone especially entering numbers and rates into browser fields. I always hated traveling with a laptop though due to how long they take to boot just to make a few changes. The only thing I ever really need to do is email which, of course, I can do thru Gmail. I am picking up the Samsung Chromebook today.
Thanks again for your help Kevin!

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